Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our new room slowly inches towards completion.

Over a month ago, just before we left for Vermont, I reviewed the top three to-do items with our contractor. The real to-do list is much longer but I wanted to emphasize the important items, like getting the heating system turned on. That would make the room livable. Also, having a handrail on the stairs, and any railing at all on our deck, would reduce the general deathiness coefficient of living in our house.

"Not a problem" he assured me. "I've got the handrail ready to go, and I'll have the heat turned on tomorrow."

Given our past experience with our contractor and his mental block with hitting deadlines, I walked away from that conversation knowing only one thing for certain. It was 100% guaranteed that he would not be turning on the heat the following day.

Sure enough, when we got home from Vermont 8 days later, we raced down into the room (using the new handrail!) to see the progress. We found the heating system still not functional. However, what he did leave behind was a couple of fancy space heaters, a note of apology, and a bottle of wine.

The guy can't make a date to save his life, but booze, apologies, and space heaters go a long way towards easing the pain.

So, we've been using that for the last month, and it's worked ok. Space heaters aren't a very efficient way to heat your home, but they're better than shivering while watching A Daily Show. This week, however, IT finally happened. Our contractor finally turned on our radiant floor heating system.

"Ta dah!" I thought. And nothing happened.

As it turns out, flipping the switch on a radiant floor heating system is about the most anti-climactic thing you can imagine. A little red light glowed on the water heater, and it made a slight humming noise, and then a few minutes later you could feel some tepid water moving through the pipes. Then, a mere FIVE HOURS LATER, our room was warm.

Ok, I knew beforehand that radiant floor heating systems were not the fastest way to warm a room, but I didn't know that it was going to take five hours to raise the temperature less than 10 degrees. Five hours?!?! I'm pretty sure that I could heat the room by myself in that amount of time using only my flatulence (assuming a burrito and a glass of milk for lunch).

So, now, each morning, I'm left with a decision. Do I flip the switch on the thermostat and begin the epic process of heating that one room, or do I just wait for summer? So far, it's a close race.


chess h said...

So if you accidentally dropped, say, a package of chicken drumsticks and wings behind the couch in that room, and assuming you accidentally turned the floor heating on at the same moment, how long would it be before you could discover a fully-cooked chicken dinner behind your couch?

Mike said...

Chess, using the famous chicken-package-hour unit of measurement, is an excellent way to measure radiant floor heating capability. The answer you are looking for is: infinity plus one.

Avery Gray said...

Hmmm... Sounds like someone's going to be taking up knitting. You're going to need an Afghan.

The blanket. Not the people. Although I hear the people are quite warm and friendly, it might be a little weird to have one draped over your lap.

Well, when your wife's around, at least.


Mya said...

We call it under floor heating around our way, but I think I prefer radiant floor heating - it sounds warmer, friendlier, basically more appealing. I'm not sure if you ever wield a mop, but the drying times on your floor post cleaning will be greatly reduced. This might go some way towards easing your disappointment in the slow increase of heat. Can you tell I've thought about under floor heating a lot?

Mya x

Mike said...

Avery, my wife and I have a clause in our marriage vows that lets us have sex with as many Afghans as we like. It's a San Francisco thing. Like the treat.

Mya, your suspicion was correct. I do not mop. I'll sweep, vacuum, or wipe, but I won't mop. I do, however, occasionally cross a newly mopped and wet floor in my socks, so I'll still benefit from the speedy drying.

Avery Gray said...

Mike, that is an oddly specific clause. I commend you for your foresight. You both must really like Afghans.

Mike said...

Avery, us Jews were behind 9/11, so we knew this whole Afghanistan thing was going to come up, so we made sure to plan for it in our marriage vows.